If "Dragnet's" Jack Webb ("Just the facts, ma'am") ever wrote a book, I suspect it would read like THE FELINE FRIENDSHIP. Rather than being dry and boring, Dymmoch's clinical, police-report approach gives this account of a series of violent rapes just the right distance to put the reader at ease.

Veteran Chicago police detective John Thinnes is saddled with a series of gruesomely violent rapes as well as a prickly new partner, Don Franchi. The crimes increase in intensity and a trail develops, leading back to a series of similar incidents in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Waukegan. Dymmoch puts the reader in the backseat of Thinnes' car for a ride-along, then transports her to psychiatrist Jack Caleb's couch, as former rapists and rape victims recount their experiences. Is one of these patients the killer? Do they know something about these current attacks that they're withholding?

Dymmoch caught me at the first paragraph with her ease of narration and ready grasp of Thinnes' and Caleb's characters. The character of Franchi is thinner than Kate Moss after a week at a fat farm, but this is only a minor detraction from an otherwise darn good read. (May, 310 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kim Colley